WE ARE ONE: A GLOBAL FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! Anthropocene: Ivory Burn captures a moment in time when the country of Kenya made a serious step toward saving its endangered African elephant population of 300,000 from 2 million a decade ago. In 2016, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta stood up against the elephant poaching industry and ceremonially set fire to over 105 tons of ivory, i.e., elephant tusks.
This historic event was filmed by directors, Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, and Edward Burtynsky, in a virtual reality documentary. The film opens with an open field as we sit in the pathway of a caravan of elephants only to have the camera knocked over and crushed by the pack.
“…preparation of the night’s event as volunteers stack 11 white pyres of elephant tusks, and then it burns.”
We then transition to the preparation of the night’s event as volunteers stack 11 white pyres of elephant tusks, and then it burns. Ivory Burn overlays the narration of facts and the Kenyatta’s speech as we sit in the center of the blaze. The VR experience was good as the directors simply place us in the center of the action making the film a virtual art piece.
Ivory Burn presents a powerful message with compelling imagery in just six minutes. Part of me wonders if burning the tusks was the right thing to do, but as Kenyatta declares, “our ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants.” No one should profit from this senseless destruction.
Anthropocene: Ivory Burn screened as part of the VR showcase for the 2020 We Are One: A Global Film Festival.
"…no one should profit from this senseless destruction."